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Thursday, September 18, 2008


The foundation that represents the family of Federico García Lorca has agreed to the exhuming of his remains. This has been staunchly opposed in the past but the situation has changed with the new investigation in to those slain in the Civil War era ordered by Judge Baltasar Garzón.

What has altered the family’s stance is the decision of the descendants of two of the deceased buried alongside Lorca to have the remains of teacher Dióscoro Galindo González and ‘banderillero’ Francisco Galadí exhumed. They were shot along with Lorca and share the same grave. The fourth victim shot that night, Juan Arcola, was also a ‘banderillero’ but has no surviving family.

The Lorca family’s spokesperson, Laura García Lorca, said they were not happy with the resting place being disturbed but would not stand in the way of the request of the other families. However she did express her concern about the remains of between 1,000 and 3,000 people also believed to be buried in the ravine at Víznar. What will happen to their remains, she asks.

Federico García Lorca, one of Spain’s most famous poets, was shot on the orders of the Franco regime at Víznar on the night of August 18 in 1936. The Irish historian, Ian Gibson, identified the location of Lorca’s grave in his book ‘The Death of Federico García Lorca’ published in 1971.

I visited the site whilst researching a play on the last night of Lorca’s life when he was held at La Colonia nearby. It is my only play of importance to me that has never been performed and I found the memorial area where Lorca’s remains are believed to rest as very barren and depressing. It was some 12 years ago in mid-February but the memory lingers of a desolate place but I guess there are no happy mass graves.

If Lorca’s remains are found then Laura García Lorca has suggested they will be cremated. Some ashes will probably go to New York where his father is interred, some to Madrid where his mother and sisters lie, others to the family home of San Vicente as well as places that were important to his life.

The recovery of the remains of those slain in the Civil War is a painful process for all the families involved but not as painful as having their resting place unmarked and their deaths un-honoured. The view of the Lorca family has been different and Laura told El País: “Nos preocupa que una exhumación parcial marque diferencia entre unos y otros. Ahora todos descansan en un cementerio común, todos han sido víctimas del mismo salvaje y cruel asesinato. Entendemos que ésa es su tumba definitiva, en ese barranco y en esa compañía.”

May they all find peace – Amen.

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